What to pack for Egypt: 24 essentials for solo female travellers
Egypt might not be a common choice on many solo female travellers’ bucket lists. When I decided to travel solo to Egypt for the first time, I was reluctant in the beginning after reading/watching too much of content on internet. However, I went with my gut feeling and booked my flight tickets. And I’m glad I did! It was truly the best solo travel trip of my life for so many right reasons! Had I known Egypt better before, I would have packed extra things in my luggage before I boarded the plane. So, this blog is for all the women out there who are planning to travel solo to Egypt for the first time and have no clue about it yet! You need not go, “what to pack for Egypt?!” at the last minute. The following list contains the things,
- I carried,
- I wish I had carried, and
- I’d carry next time.
This is the topmost important accessory you need to have while you’re in Egypt. There is going to be a lot of sun and you’ll have a tonne of historical monuments to catch up! If you want to take a look at religious sites, you can use your scarf to cover your head, etc. It also comes in handy at crowded market places to avoid unwanted attention.
Now, this is something that can protect you from sun and a swarm of local vendors in the market areas. Not kidding! Trust me, it gets a little too chaotic sometimes. Nobody can find out when you skim through the shops behind your sunglasses. And it is a great tip to follow while you’re shopping in Khan el-Khalili bazaar.
3. Sunscreen and lip balm
Egypt is a country with a hot desert climate. Needless to say, it is absolutely necessary to carry sunscreen and lip balm. You must invest in a good product, otherwise it is impossible to avoid sunburns. Well, I made a grave mistake by not taking lip balm. I had to top my chapped lips with more lipstick, and it made me look weird in a few pictures lol.
A hat can either make you look cute or mysterious like you’re working undercover. But that’s not the point here! It protects you from all the harsh scorching heat and unwanted attention. It is a bonus if you’re an introvert too! And sun hat is a great addition for your off-shoulder/tank tops as it offers shade on your face and shoulders from the sun.
Sandals are a great choice for shopping souvenirs at Khan el-Khalili. It is comfortable to walk around in sandals when you’re just exploring around the streets in Zamalek or chilling by the beaches in Alexandria. Egypt is not just about pyramids and historical tours. It is also about a laid-back lifestyle along the Nile river and Mediterranean seashores. Actually, there are many must-visit places in Egypt!
6. Walking shoes
This is a no-brainer! You CANNOT miss out on a pair of comfortable walking shoes or any sports shoes for that matter. Egypt is mostly about the long day tours. It is impossible to walk around historical sites like Saqqara Necropolis in Cairo or Hatshepsut temple in Luxor on casual footwear. Hence, it is not a crime to splurge on a good pair of comfy shoes. It stays with you for the long run too!
7. Light-coloured clothes
It is evident that light-coloured clothes absorb less heat. Egypt is extremely dry and it can be REALLY difficult if you are not used to such climatic conditions back home. Also when it comes to clothing, Egypt is conservative. Keep in mind that you are all on your own, but having said that, you can carry a mix of breathable cotton clothes, tank tops paired with shrugs, etc. depending on your travel itinerary. I carried long/knee-length cotton dresses to wear them on most days of my Egypt trip.
If you love swimming, you MUST carry swimwear. Egypt has got the Nile (like, duh!) and some amazing beaches in Alexandria. It also comes in handy when you are staying at a luxury hotel that has got a pool access to it. You’re not allowed to get into the public pool in your normal clothes or naked body! So, don’t forget to pack one and regret it later like me.
This deserves a special place in the ‘what to pack for Egypt’ list. I can’t emphasise this enough. Belt comes to your rescue “at-the-last-minute” wardrobe malfunction kind of situations. Don’t just stick with one belt that you wear it to the airport. Pack one or more in your luggage too. You’ll thank me later! Trust me, not everyone can find the belt that is probably lying in the hotel bathroom sink at the right time!
10. Hand towel
It is important to carry a hand towel, especially after all the sudden attention to personal hygiene now. Hand towel is probably the most underrated thing in the entire list. But tell you what, it is something that you think you may not use, but eventually end up using it later. So, pack one for Egypt without a second thought.
Being organised is the key factor while travelling solo. A wallet is like an organiser for keeping many personal things. It helps you to reach for the following items without any fuss.
- Debit/Credit cards
- Cash & coins
- Emergency contact numbers
- A key to your hotel/hostel room
Shopping in Egypt is all about the pretty souvenirs in local market areas. So, your wallet comes in handy to stash some cash. You do not want to dig in the entire backpack to get something immediately. Also, make sure to decide what to and what not to keep in your wallet accordingly. It is all about personal preferences!
12. Egyptian pound
This tip could be a life saviour! If you are travelling to Egypt for many days, try getting some local currency exchanged back home. That way, you can have the following benefits.
- No last minute hassle
- Saves time at airport and other currency exchange booths
- Makes you get used to EGP (Egyptian Pound) and its value
However, you cannot take more than 5,000 EGP into Egypt in local currency. Please note that euros, dollars and sterling notes are also accepted in the country. But it is better to change it to EGP for purchases. Remember to split the cash and keep in different compartments of your checked/cabin luggage. You can even put the cash in envelopes and stash them in between your clothes, just in case! The same ‘split-the-cash’ rule applies to your backpack too.
You absolutely CANNOT go wrong with this one. If you are a blogger or into photography, you might need to pack the following gears for Egypt.
- Portable charger
Some airlines restrict you from carrying portable charges or power banks in your checked luggages. So, make sure to check your airline guidelines after booking the tickets.
- Universal conversion plug socket
Don’t be surprised if you can’t find the right plug socket to charge your electronics in your hotel/hostel. You may have to carry the universal conversion plug socket even if you think it occupies an extra space in your bag.
Egypt is largely filled with rich legacy of literatures, historical monuments and pharaonic temples. And I think it is a crime if you don’t capture them on your camera to take it back home. I took polaroid camera since I love anything with aesthetic vibes! I also used my iPhone to capture some of the best pictures of my Egypt trip.
It comes in handy when you want to record your experiences. However, it is also important to safeguard the laptop in your hotel room by keeping it locked in your luggage.
- Mobile phone
Mobile phone is mandatory for almost everything! It has your booking details and soft copies of documents. So, make sure to keep it safe throughout the trip!
You will need a pair of headphones or AirPods even if you are not a big fan of them. It helps you to ignore someone’s attention, intentionally or unintentionally! Also, you might need one during your local flight/train journey from Cairo to other cities.
14. Tripod and selfie stick
I think a tripod/selfie stick is a definite must-have if you want to click self portraits. Had I not taken a tripod with me, I wouldn’t have written these many blogs about Egypt! And also, it is not always comfortable to ask a stranger to click your pictures. Hence, please carry a sturdy tripod or a selfie stick on your first solo trip to Egypt!
15. Reusable containers
Next time when you’re wondering what to pack for Egypt, include this in your list without fail! You can carry a water bottle to store drinking water and a box to keep snacks/leftover food from restaurants. Solo travelling is all about awareness. And carrying reusable containers in your backpack is a next level of awareness. Not to forget that it is also environment-friendly!
16. Carrier bags
Carrier bags are literally everything! You can use them to store your used clothes, slippers/shoes, etc. Nobody’s got time for laundry on a solo trip! That said, you obviously do not want to mix all the sweaty clothes from your trips to Luxor temple, tombs, etc. with the remaining unworn clothes in the luggage. Hence, do not miss to pack this underrated item for Egypt!
17. Photocopies of important documents
Now let us get to the serious part of the list. First of all, you need to get a file to keep all the following documents related to your stay in Egypt.
- Itinerary plan
- Driver license for address proof (if any)
- Travel insurance (if any)
- Medical certificate (if any)
- Debit/Credit card
- Student ID (if any)
It doesn’t matter if you already have these documents as soft copies on your mobile phone. It is important to carry the photocopies as well. Needless to say, you must follow this step without fail if you are NOT travelling with any travel company. Furthermore, make sure to keep the photocopies of your passport/visa (you may randomly get checked by the officials), student ID (to avail any discount on tickets/passes), debit/card (in case you lose it) in your backpack during the day tours.
18. Medicines and first aid kit
If you think you are immune to illnesses, you might be wrong. The first rule of solo travelling is to be prepared. Do not compromise on medicines, painkillers and mosquito repellants! Also, make sure to consult with your family doctor about your solo trip to Egypt. Keep in mind that Egypt is known for its amazing middle-eastern cuisine. Hence, check your spice tolerance before you dig in!
19. Toilet paper and wipes
I just finished talking about Egyptian cuisine and it’s spice level. And now, toilet paper is in the list lol. Both may or may not be correlated, but it all depends on your luck! On a serious note, you’d probably think what it has got to do with ‘what to pack for Egypt’ list. But there are not many public bathrooms with toilet paper in Egypt. It is even worse when a lady security hands over a small piece of tissue to you while you enter the bathroom. I mean, not everyone is okay with just a single pull of toilet paper! So, don’t forget to pack a toilet paper roll for Egypt! Also, make sure it is flushable (and easily dissolvable) to dispose of it in the toilet. Another quick tip is that you can use wipes to refresh yourself amidst Egypt’s baking sun.
You know the drill. Given that personal hygiene is very important today, it is advisable to carry your own toiletries. And honestly, toiletries came to my mind right away when I first thought about what to pack for Egypt. Please carry the following items in a pouch to keep them organised.
- Toothbrush (least found item in the toiletries provided by the hotels in Egypt)
- Shaving kit
- Sanitary pads/tampons
- Cotton buds/pads
- Disposal bag
- Shower cap
You cannot take any chances with your health when you’re travelling solo. And don’t forget to carry your shampoo and other liquid/gel type in travel-sized containers to avoid any last minute hassle. Just be aware of your airline guidelines.
My most favourite item in the entire ‘what to pack for Egypt’ list! A journal helps you to keep the contact numbers of your friends, family, hotel front desk, local helpline, etc. If you happen to lose your mobile phone, it can save you during an emergency (I know it is a nightmare, but let’s just hope you don’t). You can also use it to record any interesting facts/things during your day tours. It is one of the non-touristy things to do! What can I say? Egypt is just so memorising and unreal!
22. Hand sanitiser and mask
When the whole world is revolving around hand sanitisers and masks right now, this should not be an unexpected find in the list. Carrying health-protectant items is incomplete if you don’t utilise them in the right way. Remember that prevention is better than cure. Also, make room for these things in your backpack at all times. It is a travel essential that you MUST pack for Egypt or any country for that matter.
23. Whistle and pocket knife
You can carry these items as your safety weapons to Egypt just to be on the safe side. The country is generally safe for women, and I felt safest when I was there. It gets a little intimidating when local vendors force you to buy things in the touristy places. They’re just trying to make a living. I’d also suggest you to carry a whistle since it helps to grab attention when you’re stuck in a difficult situation.
Books keep you engaged when you’re travelling locally across different cities like Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, Alexandria, etc. in Egypt. It is even benefitting during a train/bus journey. Trust me, it is the best thing ever! You need not be a bookworm to carry one on your first solo travel to Egypt. It is all about the experience I’d say! The wind blowing in your face and turning the pages of your book, the picturesque views of the Nile, the subtle movement of the train/bus are worth convincing you to carry a book!
What would you pack for Egypt?
I absolutely loved my days in Egypt because it is one of the safest countries for solo female travellers hands down! If there is anything more that I’ve missed to mention in the list, please comment below. I’d love to take your suggestion and implement the same on my next solo trip to Egypt! By the way, I can’t wait! That said, you’re good to go if you are done and dusted with this ‘what to pack for Egypt’ checklist. All the best for your first time solo travel to Egypt! Also, please make sure to share the blog with your female friends who are also into solo travelling. Sharing is caring and kindness is free of cost! 🙂
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.